This Week's Travel News: News you need to know

Will The Next Cancun Please Stand Up

Plastic Only Please: Air Canada Moving To Cashless Cabin
As of May 1 passengers will need a credit card for on-board purchases on Air Canada including food, alcoholic drinks, headphones and duty-free items. The airline is moving to a cashless cabin and debit cards won’t be among the options. For both the airline and its flight attendants it is good news. Retired Air Canada flight attendant Alexandra Ludgate says handling cash was one of the most time consuming parts of the job. “Running back and forth for change and waiting for passengers to rummage through their wallets was really impractical.” Passengers will also have the ability to purchase vouchers before boarding a flight. However, vouchers are only available online and will also require a credit card for purchase. Reacting to the news on TakeOffeh sister site, one travel industry member wrote: “While I agree going cashless cabins will make things more efficient, it seems to me that they might have also included debit cards. The transaction takes about the same time, and some people may not have a card or wish to use a credit card on board.” WestJet says it is considering a similar move but has not yet made a decision.

You Have The Right To Remain Prone On A Sun Lounger
It’s not enough that Europeans get weeks and weeks of paid vacation every year. Or that whole countries slap up a ‘Closed’ sign for the month of August. Get ready to go green with envy, my vacation-deprived North American friends, for the worst is yet to come: The EU has declared that vacations are a human right and plans to subsidize holidays for those who can’t afford it. “Travelling for tourism today is a right. The way we spend our holidays is a formidable indicator of our quality of life,” EU commissioner Antonio Tajani said recently. Under Tajani’s plan, taxpayers would foot up to 30 per cent of the travel bill. Expected to cost hundreds of millions of Euros, the plan will be open to pensioners, young people between 18 and 25, disabled people, and families facing “difficult social, financial or personal” circumstances. No doubt you can find one of those categories to apply to you, but there is little hope North American government will subsidize our annual pilgrimages to a swim-up bar.

Lots Of Car Rental Brands, Few Car Rental Companies
If anyone’s keeping score, Avis and Budget are one company, National, Enterprise and Alamo are owned by the same group and now Hertz has swallowed up Dollar Thrifty, which was already a dual-brand car rental company. With all the car rental brands out there, there are surprisingly few car rental companies. The announcement of Hertz’s $1.2-billion Dollar Thrifty purchase raises fears that rental prices will climb even further —  after a year in which they reached historic highs. Chris Brown, executive editor of Auto Rental News, told CNN: “We’re in an era of higher-priced car rentals and that era is probably going to stay in place for a while. I’m not sure that Hertz buying Dollar Thrifty [will be] a driver of a rate increase.” Insiders say that the main cause of higher prices is tighter lending, which means car rental companies can’t buy as many cars.

Will The Next Cancun Please Stand Up
You may have never heard of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, but odds are you will soon. Like Cancun, Loreto, Huatulco, Ixtapa and Los Cabos, the coastal region of Mexico’s sixth-largest state is going to be another of the country’s “Integrally Planned Centers” — in other words, a massive new resort area. Located on the Gulf Coast with Texas as its northern border, Tamaulipas will be home to ‘Megaproject Costa Lora,’ which in its first stage will be home to 6,900 hotel rooms and 11,500 condominiums and tourist villas. The federal government, through tourism arm Fonatur, has agreed to fund up to 90 percent of the $5.5 billion project. Despite its well-publicized drug war and last year’s struggles with swine flu, Mexico is one of the world’s leading destinations, and continues to build a tourism product highly regarded for quality and value. Here’s an idea of the scale of the new project: it begins with the provision of basic services followed by the development of golf courses and water sports facilities, a central marina, a residential area with housing for 150,000 and a new international airport. No doubt there’s a Senor Frog’s in there somewhere too.

By: Bruce Parkinson
Bruce Parkinson is a travel industry journalist and regular contributor to as well as sister company,

Photo Credits:, cdwheatley,

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